My local Gym…Hatfield Park

This is what I love about England….its vast history.  It is everywhere, and I have discovered another hot spot of adventure, the Hatfield House, in Hatfield, Hertfordshire.  This is literally at my back door.  1000 of acres of lush greenery, walkways and wild life.  It is spectacular.  This is my local gym!!!  I love to jog, and I love this place.  It is private, gated, and I get free entry because I’m a resident of Hatfield.  The boys love playing at the park, and Jonathan enjoys his walks here also.  This is a lovely place to escape to, getting away from the hustle and bustle of life here in London, and taking time to play, pray and just have a rest.  The British thrive on their Gardens.  It is evident here at the Hatfield House.  We still need to discover the inside of the Hatfield house and private gardens, this is on our "Field Trip list" for the boys coming School year 2008/2009. 
I hope you enjoy the pictures of the Hatfield house and its many walkways and forest paths.
Here is a bit of history, it is indeed fascinating………

The history of Hatfield House begins in about 1485, when John Morton, Bishop of Ely, built Hatfield Palace.  It was a big quadrangle of russet brick; one side of it, containing the Banqueting Hall, still stands to the west of the present House.  When Henry VIII dispersed the possessions of the Church, he took it over and used it chiefly as a residence for his children, Mary, Elizabeth and Edward.  Hatfield is most associated with Elizabeth who spent much of her childhood happily at Hatfield in company with her young brother Edward and sharing his education.  After Henry VIII’s death, Elizabeth’s life became troubled and during the reign of her sister Mary, Elizabeth found herself virtually a prisoner.  She lived as splendidly as she could; we hear of a gorgeous masque and play being given for her entertainment in the Hall, and of a message sent by her sister the Queen that such frivolous activities must be discontinued!  


In 1558 Mary died. Seated under an oak tree in the park, Elizabeth was reading when the news of her accession was brought to her. (Hatfield, the Park, an oak tree marks the place where the young Princess Elizabeth first heard of her accession to the throne).

Her first act was to send for William Cecil, afterwards Lord Burghley (1520-1598).  Elizabeth appointed him her Principal Secretary; he remained her chief minister for the rest of his life.  Her first Council was held in the Great Hall but after this she spent little time at Hatfield.


Hatfield House was completed in 1611. It was built by Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury and son of Lord Burghley, the chief minister of Elizabeth I. The deer park surrounding the house and the older building of the Old Palace had been owned by Elizabeth’s father, Henry VIII, who had used it as a home for his children, Edward, Elizabeth and Mary.


The Cecils’ former home was at Theobalds, also in Hertfordshire. In 1607, Elizabeth’s heir, James I offered to exchange Theobalds for the Old Palace and manor of Hatfield. A draft Parliamentary Act of exchange survives in the Cecil Papers at Hatfield, dated May 1607. Salisbury began building work immediately. The main architect of the house was Robert Lemynge but Simon Basil, the Surveyor of the King’s Works and Inigo Jones also contributed to the design.


Salisbury had been appointed Lord Treasurer in April 1607 as well as Chief Secretary, but, he became ill and died, aged only 48, in April 1612. Although he was buried in Hatfield, he didn’t live to enjoy the house that was to become the home of his descendants for the next 400 years

Hatfield House is now the home of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury.

Visitors can enjoy extensive walks in the 1000 acres of park with woodland trails and a wonderful spring bluebell display.


There is a play area for younger visitors with plenty of grassy space for running around. Picnic tables are provided under the trees to while away a pleasant afternoon.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to My local Gym…Hatfield Park

  1. Janie says:

    That\’s one of the many things I love about England too, the History. I\’d love to visit Hatfield someday.It sounds like my kinda town.Thank you for sharing all the History.CheersJanie

  2. Gina says:

    So pretty! Wish I were there to run with you:)

  3. Bridget says:

    Oh I miss running with you Gina, my friend! I\’m sure you could still out run me. 😉 I really miss our heart to heart talks!!

  4. Bridget says:

    Hey Jane…let\’s add this to your list of "must visit" when you can come!!

  5. Janie says:

    Oh yes! Its already on the list : )

  6. Jonathan says:

    Being a resident of Hatfield and having been to the Hatfield House a few times myself, I must say that I quite agree with you.   Quite a lovely place!  I have taken my boys there as well.  Maybe we can meet there sometime.  Let me know!!!
    Your Husband

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s